Kaleidoscope Art

At the Apple Distinguished Educators Institute in Berlin I got to meet Cathy Hunt, an extraordinary art teacher from Australia. Cathy must have shared 30 or more inspiring art lessons with us in just a 3 minutes. She passionately demonstrating how we need to ‘pull down the barriers between technology, traditional tools and tactile materials’. And to this effectively, Cathy says that it all starts with the camera.

FullSizeRender-2-300x300.jpgCathy is a well-known advocate for the creative integration of technology in education, developing ground-breaking programs for students around the world that combine hands-on, tactile and collaborative ways of working with mobile devices. Cathy is probably best known for her work on iPadartroom.com, a home base for educators to engage with innovative ideas, resources and technology for learning in that combines paint and pixels. Her site has grown to become the ‘go-to’ resource for teachers leveraging mobile devices for creativity.


This year I’ve packed my creative toolkit full to the top with Cathy’s ideas and giving it a go. At the beginning of the year I plan a variety of activities where my new cohort of 4 year olds can get to grips using the camera on our iPads and mastering the basics. I love this start because it gets them mobile with the devices from the get-go. They practise holding the iPad securely and moving between the camera app and photos app to find their images. Thanks to Cathy, I’ve now found a way to link their digital creativity to physical art work.

Photo Booth comes pre-installed on your iPads and within this simple camera app is a kaleidoscope filter. It’s always intrigued me and way back in my early days of this blog I wrote about it’s potential for art work with under 2s.

These kaleidoscopic images are fascinating and transforms the ordinary to extraordinary. Children just love looking around their classroom through a lens which gives them a different perspective of a a place that is now so familiar to them.

Our learning this week was centred around the book ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?’ and on this particular day it was also Elephant Appreciation Day. We had enhanced our provision with elephant resources. We took our digital creations to physical art work with traditional tools after reading Elmer. Children wanted to create their own unique elephant designs, linked to their learning from International Dot Day the week before. They wanted to design elephants who could make their mark on the world.

Placing their iPad and kaleidoscope photograph next to their elephant template, they began to make their uniquely marked elephant!

Their work says so much more than my words could ever explain! Through our school twitter and class blog, Cathy tells the children that their work ‘is an awesome example of abstraction, size, scale, colour, shape, line, fine motor control and iterative’.

For me, this shows that 4 year old children can do more than just colour in. They love colouring in so do we bring challenge to this interest? How do we enhance a simple task of colouring? I think using Photo Booth is definitely one way of enhancing this kind of activity. Especially when one young learner added a second layer of his digital to physical flow. Here you see you how he photographed his first draft with the kaleidoscope filter and began a second draft with this new design.

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